Imagining Future Risk in this Election Year

Richard Smaby

We imagine the future constantly every day. Usually it's small things like where our left foot will end up or what the car in the next lane will do. But sometimes we have to imagine outcomes of national importance, as when we decide who to vote for as president. What would a Donald Trump presidency be like?

We are at a crossroads in history. The choices we make as individuals are going to have a great impact on what the future will be like. This is a period of violence: police profiling and killing African Americans and police in their turn being targeted and assassinated. A period of violent speech: a presidential candidate using hate speech to gain publicity and the media in turn cooperating to amplify and give credence to hate speech. A period of planning for violence: hate groups growing in number and committing crimes in increasing numbers. Racist and intolerant declarations on social media.

We know how this goes down. We have seen it before, many times before, in the history of other democracies, as well as of our own. We pretend all this hate is just an uptick in business as usual and everything will go back to the normal soon after the presidential election is over in November. Then we realize too late that it is not business as usual and we, by being in denial, have helped create an epoch of intolerance and hate ruling our nation and our world.

Pretending there is no essential difference between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and their networks of power is hiding our heads in the sand. We must face clearly the differences and think carefully about our political decisions and actions in the next few months. The list below provides possible scenarios of the result of electing Donald Trump as president. As does the Republican platform.

This is not business as usual. We need a resounding progressive victory which deals a decisive blow against racism, religious intolerance, and hate. An overwhelming electoral college majority for Clinton. Down ballot victories taking over the Senate and perhaps even the House. This is the time to elect a progressive president, maybe not as progressive as some would like, including me, but a true progressive. All one needs to do to be convinced is to contrast her ideas and actions described at the Democratic convention with the above list of consequences of a Donald Trump presidency. It is time to give votes, time, and money to elect Hillary Clinton and other progressives in the various congressional races across the country.

If Hillary Clinton is not progressive enough for you, ‘make her do it.’ Obama issued that call to action after he won the presidency. There is an excellent in-depth article in The Progressive online magazine on Obama's statement, which could as well apply to Hillary Clinton. Occupy is making a difference. Black Lives Matter is making a difference. Organized protests make a difference. Bernie Sanders’ campaign made a difference. We have to keep the pressure on. That is the way politics works.

Do you want someone in the White House who will feel pushed to progressive actions by progressive organizations and actions? Or someone who will try to suppress them? That is our choice. We need a resounding repudiation of a party that capitalizes on and encourages racism, xenophobia, homophobia, misogyny, and any form of hate.

Hope for the future will come when progressives of all types and degrees take bold action in this time of national distress. Imagine Jill Stein, the presidential nominee of the Green Party, endorsing Hillary Clinton. It could come to that, if the polls show a tight race come October.

In any case, I ask her and the Green Party to develop a strategy to push Clinton and the Democratic Party into progressive action, should the Democrats be elected in November. 

And I ask Senator Bernie Sanders to actively campaign for Clinton among his supporters. His Our Revolution movement is currently working to elect progressives down-ballot.

If progressives of all persuasions work together, maybe, just maybe, we can achieve some of the changes we have been fighting for.

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